(Translator's note: This post is a continuation of a previous entry.)
XCity: Was working essentially nonstop doing all those AV shoots really that fun?
Ayu Sakurai: Yea, it really was! Once I began working in AV, that's all I thought about. My life pretty much revolved around it. Even when I received offers for non-video work, I usually turned them down because I was only focused at the time on shoots. However, there's a lot more I want to do now: I'd love to sing, be on variety TV, and even do work on the stage. My ultimate goal is to enter the entertainment industry. With that said, there have been times when my mind's had time to woolgather. For example, I may be on a bullet train and I'd be thinking about my career: “is AV enough for me? Do I want to do more?” All the previous times I thought this over, I decided that AV for the time being is what I'm content with doing so I doubled my efforts in giving it my all.
XC: Well, your efforts in AV certainly paid off. You were nominated last year for a DMM Adult Award. How did you feel when you heard the news?
AS: I was super happy. It was almost my first time ascending a really big stage. However, I was incredibly nervous during the event. My head was throbbing nonstop, I couldn't stop coughing, and my stomach was full of butterflies. I even tried taking a nap in the dressing room before the ceremony began, but that didn't help at all. It was a pretty moving event. All the other actresses were leaking tears while remaining in good spirits. However, it was too much for me; all I could do was squeak out my name before clamming up. That's something I regret deeply about the event. Of course I ended up not winning and that also made me pretty glum. I cried about that.
An example of a teary-eyed Ayu Sakurai?
XC: Still, you were nominated for a very prestigious award. That's got to count for something.
AS: Yea, everybody said that. It wasn't all bad even if what I just said hinted at it that way. My career since I started has steadily progressed and I'm closer than ever to achieving my dreams. I've finally begun to take vocal lessons in earnest and I'm super psyched about that!
XC: You recently announced your retirement from Japanese AV which will happen in March of 2016. May I ask the reason why?
AS: When I debuted in AV, I decided I would be doing it for 3 years. I debuted in March of 2013 hence retiring in the same month. I decided to announce my retirement very early because since most AV stars only let it be known a few months before they quit, it can leave their fans devastated. Giving them more time to digest the news puts them in a better position I think. If you say you're retiring too late in the game, some of your fans may never have time to meet you. Since my announcement was done already some time ago, many more of my fans have made the time to meet me at various events I do.
XC: Why 3 years?
AS: Before I decided on 3 years, I first just wanted to become the #1 most popular AV star before retiring. However, it's kinda hard to really decide who #1 is in this industry so I dropped that goal. I mean even when I just got started I knew about those award shows and that's what I based my goal off of, but reality sometimes really goes off on a tangent. Besides, although I was close to receiving an award, it never actually happened which was really vexing.
“Why did I not receive an award? I made way more titles than her, I'm religious about my social networking presence, and I'm on set almost every single day giving it my all. Why didn't I get one?!” was going through my mind at the time. For a time I thought the whole system was rigged and super unfair, but I got over it. Being #1 isn't everything. Throughout all this I knew there was only so much my body can take so that's how I landed on the decision to retire after 3 years. Why 3 and not more? Aside from health issues, I figured all that acting on set for these 36 months will be sufficient practice for my future dreams of ascending the mainstream stage.
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